ERCOT estimates tight but manageable summer power supply


The first day of summer is still officially a few months away, but the state grid operator is already estimating tight reserves for electricity supply, especially if the summer is hotter than normal.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state grid and manages the wholesale electric market, believes power suppliers will be able to meet summer demands without rolling outages, according to its preliminary summer assessment released on Thursday.

“We are expecting above-normal temperatures this summer – though not as extreme as last summer’s,” Kent Saathoff, vice president of grid operations for ERCOT, said in a written statement. “If that’s the case, we expect to be able to meet the peak demand on the grid, unless we have above-normal generation outages.”

ERCOT has said that it is working with the Public Utility Commission to increase its load management options in the case of an emergency. These options could include bringing mothballed power plants online and working on various conservation measures.

ERCOT has said it probably will need to issue Energy Emergency Alerts at several points during the summer, but that these will not result in the need for rotating outages.  Typically, ERCOT makes a public appeal for conservation during such alerts.

Emily Pickrell

4 Responses

  1. Richard Lewis says:

    Approximately $19 billion have been invested in 10,000 megawatts of wind-driven electric generation in Texas. Nearly $7 billion is being invested in transmission lines to move Texas wind-generated electricity to Texas markets. Texas electric rate payers are paying for these $26 billion investments.

    On Saturday, August 27, at 1:41 PM, the website of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) reported “Total Wind Output (hourly average)” of 43 megawatts. This means approximately 0.43% (forty-three hundredths of one per cent) of installed wind capacity was generating electricity. Because this figure is an average, it is virtually certain that during the hour measured, actual wind generation approached 0% of installed capacity and 0% of actual system demand.

    Fossil-fueled and nuclear-fueled plants were the sole source of electrical power as the temperature soared above 100 degrees across the state.

    $26 billion dollars of investment: Zero energy output when needed most. And so it will be every time in the future when the wind doesn’t blow in Texas. “But,” one might say, “this seldom happens.” Perhaps. But bear this in mind: For every megawatt of wind generation capacity installed, an equal amount of fossil-fueled or nuclear-fueled capacity must be installed, “just in case.” Or ERCOT’s second name isn’t “Reliability”.

  2. Richard Lewis says:

    Amazing but true …. Over $20 billion (yes, with a “b”)in wind-generation investment in Texas and ERCOT cannot count on a single kilowatt of output from that massive investment as it contemplates how to avoid rolling brown-outs this summer. Confirmation is found in ERCOT’s reports from last summer, such as the following for the eight days ending August 27:

    Had even a significant fraction of those dollars been invested in natural gas powered generation plants there would be zero chance of rolling brown-outs. This radical misallocation of resources goes unreported. Nothing short of amazing.

  3. TexasDan says:

    I estimate a loose but non-manageable summer power supply??!!?? This article was like adding -1 to +1 which equals…

    Zip, nada, the Big “O”, zilch, ZERO!!

  4. steve says:

    EPA, at work for you? NOMOBAMA, see ya at the polls!